In the last version of XGI Reactor, there was no evidence such as file names any more, but the performance was sometimes still improved by reducing the image quality. In other words, the tactics remained the same.
Of course, the XGI baby can also work without these “optimizations” providing normal image quality. But as soon as we disable the “optimizations”, the performance of Volari Duo V8 Ultra gets a few times lower, it drops beyond any possible minimum. Moreover, we are talking about the most powerful product model here. I am already terrified at the mere thought of how low the performance of Volari Duo V5 or single-processor Volari models could be in reality.
What causes such low performance or a seemingly promising graphics processor? We assume that it is primarily because of raw and unfinished drivers. However, it would be unfair to blame only drivers for this failure.
The major reason of this low performance has probably a lot to do with the Volari’s inefficient architecture, starting from the elementary caching algorithms and finishing with complex pixel shader 2.0 processing. The fillrate problems also contributed to the product’s low speed. And the reason for such poor fillrate comes from the very low levels, which is perfectly proven by the driver “optimizations”. As you remember, XGI Reactor drivers recognize familiar applications and reduce the texture level of detail, which automatically reduces the caches workload, because there are less texturing data to be processed. The performance grows up. This definitely indicates that Volari does have problems with texturing speed.
Yes, formally the card features two memory buses 128bit each. However, in this case 128x2 doesn’t make 256, because the graphics processors of the dual-chip solution are connected with one another via a very narrow channel, which bandwidth is as high as that of the AGP 8x. Using fast and expensive GDDR-II memory doesn’t make much sense, although it is quite logical, as speeding up external memory could theoretically help solve the problem with the internal cache. However, the practice showed that GDDR-II, which failed to save NV30, doesn’t save XGI Volari Duo today.
So, no wonder happened. Volari Duo V8 Ultra didn’t become a worthy competitor to RADEON 9800 PRO/XT and GeForce FX 5950 Ultra, although XGI had promised that. This “hot” and expensive dual-processor monster is most likely to follow in the footsteps of ATI Rage Fury MAXX and 3dfx Voodoo5 5500. In other words, it is most likely to become a museum rarity interesting for us from the theoretical point of view, nothing else. Although unlike the latter solutions, it will not be able to enjoy the laurels of a leader even for one single day. Well, another attempt to introduce dual-processor solutions in the 3D worlds suffered a total fiasco.
It is very sad that XGI didn’t lean the lesson of SiS Xabre and again resorted to the so-called “turbo-texturing”, although it was a little bit modified this time. Moreover, they kept it secret hoping that no one would notice the image quality worsening. No doubt that the company, which used to be known as Xabre Graphics Inc, will hardly be able to win the customers’ and potential partners’ hearts this way. Secrecy is not the best thing to start with for a company, which is going to compete seriously with such graphics giants as ATI Technologies and NVIDIA Corporation. Moreover, “turbo-texturing” implemented in SiS Xabre has already demonstrated this back in 2002.